Administratively Resolved Cases FAQ
- What would be considered a mistake in advertising?
While it is impossible to provide an exhaustive list of mistakes in advertising, common examples of mistakes that may warrant the administratively resolved mechanism include:
- a pricing error printed in a flyer
- a technical glitch on a website that temporarily results in inaccurate information, such as inadvertently using an image that does not match the product description
- dates relevant to promotional offer not disclosed or disclosed incorrectly
- including a US-only product on a Canadian-facing website
These examples are in contrast to complaints that raise issues about the general impression of an advertisement conveyed to consumers (i.e. whether or not the qualifying statements in the advertisement about pricing are sufficient). These issues cannot be administratively resolved, as there is no quick fix to remedy the issue, and they would therefore require Council adjudication to determine whether there is a Code violation.
- What is retail advertising?
Ad Standards considers retail advertising to be any advertisement that promotes goods or services intended to be sold directly to consumers. Traditional forms of retail advertising may include television, radio, newspaper, billboards, flyers, etc. Less obvious forms of retail advertising may include company websites, YouTube pre-roll videos and social media posts, to name a few.
Ad Standards recognizes that products and/or services offered through eCommerce websites are often third-party produced and/or owned; however, Ad Standards has determined these eCommerce retailers to be the party responsible for the advertisements targeted to Canadian consumers under their own name. They are therefore considered “retail advertising” for the purposes of this procedure.
- What is a correction notice?
A correction notice identifies the advertiser and acknowledges and corrects the error(s) in the original retail advertising.
- Where should a correction notice appear?
Correction notices should be posted in the same medium and addressed to the same consumers as the original advertisement (i.e. flyer, newspaper, website, social media platform, etc.), and/or where applicable, a similar correction notice, with similar content, should be prominently posted at retail.
The correction notice should be published in close proximity to where the original advertisement appeared. For example, if the advertisement only appeared on a particular social media platform, then the correction notice should be posted on that same platform.
- What should a correction notice say?
There is no specific requirement in terms of the wording of the correction notice; however, it is intended to identify the advertiser and acknowledge and correct the error(s) in the original retail advertising. A sample correction notice might look something like this:
[Advertiser] Flyer inadvertently included an erroneous price for its Pizza Lunch Special promotion advertisement that was in circulation from [X to X OR during the month of X]. The advertisement should have indicated that the Pizza Lunch Special was priced at $11.99 and not $9.99. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.
The above wording would, of course, need to be revised to be relevant to the issue/advertisement itself.
- How long should a correction notice remain published?
There is no mandated set amount of time, as it depends on the advertisement and the circumstances; however, the correction notice should be published for the duration of time the original ad was active, where reasonably possible. Such an approach should be considered on a case-by-case basis.